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SPIE and OSA select new Guenther Congressional Fellow

24 August 2010

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- SPIE and the Optical Society (OSA) have selected Marcius Extavour, a quantitative risk analyst at Ontario Power Generation, to serve as the Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow for 2010-2011.Marcius Extavour Extavour will serve a one-year term working as special legislative assistants on the staffs of members of Congress or congressional committees.

"I consider it a privilege to have been selected to represent SPIE and the OSA as the 2010-2011 Guenther Congressional Fellow," Extavour said. "During my time on Capitol Hill, I look forward to better understanding the challenges and opportunities for public advocacy of science within the legislative process, and hope to draw on my love of science and enthusiasm for public outreach and public policy."

Extavour's year will begin in early September in Washington, D.C., with an intensive orientation facilitated by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for Congressional and Executive Branch fellows from more than two dozen scientific societies. Following orientation, the new Fellows will go through an interview and selection process with offices of senators, representatives and committees on Capitol Hill. Offices will extend offers, and Extavour will choose the office in which he will spend his fellowship year.

The Congressional Fellowships program is designed to bring technical and science backgrounds and external perspectives to the decision-making process, and to help broaden awareness of the value of scientist- and engineer-government interaction. Typically, fellows conduct legislative or oversight work, assist in congressional hearings and debates, prepare briefs and write speeches as a part of their daily responsibilities.

Each year, following a formal application process, finalists are interviewed and fellows are selected by committees comprised of volunteer members from OSA and SPIE. For more information on the selection process, visit the SPIE Fellows webpage or OSA's website.

At Ontario Power Generation, Extavour tackled the unique challenges of management and decision-making at a public utility within one of North America's largest power networks. He worked with engineers, accountants, and risk experts to model the leading operational, financial, and strategic risks to the company. Extavour credits this experience with helping him to develop an understanding of the regional and international dynamics of science-related policy and regulation across North America, and with sharpening his interest in science-informed public policy.

Extavour received a BASc. in Engineering Science at the Univ. of Toronto (UT), completing thesis research on new materials for improving solar cell efficiency. Extavour carried out doctoral work in physics in the Quantum Optics cluster at the UT. His research focused on experiments exploring the fundamental, quantum mechanical dynamics of atomic gases.

Extavour said he hope to combine his love of science, public outreach, and policy as a fellow, and looks forward to better understanding the challenges and opportunities for public advocacy of science within the legislative process.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world.


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